Power weapons are a type of weapon in Warhammer 40,000. Power weapons look just like normal melee weapons, but what makes them actually useful is that they are sheathed with an energy field surrounding the blade. This energy field can in turn slice through even the toughest of armor.
For one reason or another, the glorious Daemon Weapons of Chaos operate like power weapons. Probably for the same reason that allows cheap guardsmen bayonets to be exactly as deadly as chainswords in melee combat (that is to say,
bullshit convenience lazyness).
- 1 Types of Power weapons
- 2 Eldar Power Weapons
- 3 Dark Eldar Power Weapons
- 4 Tau Power Weapons
Types of Power weapons
The signature weapon of Chaplains, the Crozius Arcanum is a mace encased in energy that serves as both a symbol of office and a weapon. Counts exactly as a Power Maul in 7th ed. The Traitor esquivalent, the Dark Apostle uses a functionally identical item, though twisted by Chaos, called an Accursed Crozius.
In a nutshell, the power sword is an example of power weapon technology applied to a sword. It's easily the most common power weapon (the Space Marine video game only said otherwise so as not to make players feel cheated by the DLC they just bought), and is used not only by the Space Marines, but by the Commissariat, Inquisition, and Imperial Guard, who, likewise, often issue it to Sergeants and Officers. The Emperor of Mankind and most of the Primarchs who had swords used Power Swords. As of 6th edition, Power Swords are now AP3, screwing over many units and characters who have swords modeled on, such as Mephiston, resulting in Terminators becoming absurdly hard to kill in assaults. Now, with armour modifiers, power swords will be pretty useful against Terminators again.
A two-handed power sword, which on the tabletop results in +2S (so S+2 AP3) and two-handed (can't benefit from a second weapon, although curiously there is no ban on taking two items that both do this, which currently only means you can wield a relic blade and a storm shield). For some reason this also applies to officers in Terminator armor. Despite the fluff stating that they can use weapons that other Astartes can't. Don't bother with Relic Blade upgrades for Captains and Chapter Master if a melee based Chapter Relic has better stats. Which they usually will. It is a decent upgrade if the Chapter Relic replaces a ranged weapon, armor or Storm Shield. Honor Guards and Vanguard Sergents can also use them. Though it is a huge waste on the latter if he doesn't have a Storm Shield.
An older-model power weapon favored by the traitor legions, the Shock Mace is functionally a Crozius Arcanum (see above), but without the status symbol.
On the tabletop, Power Axes are AP2, +1S and Unwieldy, making your unit strike at I1. This is probably going to be your only way to cheaply kill Terminators in assault, if they haven't overwatched your guys to death or happen to be using Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields.
Power Mauls are whatever form of bashin' stick or stave a Space Marine, human or xenos supreme race's can get their hands on and turn into a relatively hi-tech weapon. If you can conceivably clobber someone over the head with it, it doesn't look heavy enough to be a Thunder Hammer, and it has room to tape a disruption field generator on somewhere along the haft, it's probably a Power Maul.
Crunch-wise, Power Mauls are AP4, +2 Str and Concussive. This means they bounce off MEQs (but wound on a 2+, at least), and when wielded by aforementioned MEQs turn any variety of Spess Pansy or Humie not wearing power armor into meat slurry, multiple wounds be damned. Great for challenges against the aforementioned T3 squishies.
A form of Power Weapon shaped like a scythe. Power Scythes were generally unwieldy and never caught on with the Imperial military outside the Legiones Astartes, and even then they were only popular with the Death Guard, who used a massive type of Power Scythe known as Manreapers. Even in that particular case, they were only used by their Primarch Mortarion, some officers (like First Captain Calas Typhon), and the Deathshroud Terminators. Crunch wise they're power axes with reaping blow instead of unwieldy, giving the wielder +1 attack provided there is an enemy in base contact at the cost -1 I. As such, they're nice since they hit before other AP2 weapons. Because of its association with the Death Guard, it should surprise no one that the Departmento Munitorum cancelled all orders for Power Scythes in M34 due to their complete lack of popularity. Whether or not the Adeptus Mechanicus still have the STC printouts are unknown, but knowing the AdMech...
Also known as big-metal-death-fists-of-doom the power fist is one of the most iconic weapons of 40k, Power Fists are massive gauntlets which are encased within an energy field that breaks down molecular bonds when activated. They are intended to be worn with Terminator armour, but frequently you find people wearing Power Armour, or even NOT wearing Power Anything, wielding Power Fists. The Emperor of Mankind had a power fist on his left hand, which he used to famously put Leman Russ in his place. Russ later said that the subsequent headache was from the drinking contest they had.
They are commonly used as an anti-armor weapon. Yes, you heard correctly. Brave bastards will punch tanks until they explode. That's how fucking badass this universe is.
Orks, in their looting tendencies, have taken to mimicking Power Fists as Power Klaws, which are like Power Fists except that they usually have 2-4 digits, and have massive grabbing blade-claws instead of articulated fingers. Commissar Yarrick famously killed an Ork and used his Power Klaw to replace his severed forearm. Why the Commissariat has not censured him for using xenos weapons is not entirely clear, but they probably let it slide because he's such a badass. Still, one must wonder how he goes to sleep, takes a shower, or masturbates with that thing on.
Some variants of Power Fist are called Power Claws, which are basically Power Fists with the digits ending in razor sharp claws. You more frequently see them among Chaos Space Marines, but occasionally the Raven Guard or Space Wolves use them. The infamous Talon of Horus, used by Horus Lupercal to kill Sanguinius and critically injure the Emperor, and later looted by Ezekyle Abaddon, is a Power Claw with an infamous history. Most of these, however, would technically be considered a form of Lightning Claws (see below).
On the tabletop, Power Fists/Klaws double the user's strength, but makes him strike at I1. A popular tactic was to use it to instagib enemy ICs in assault by hiding the Fister behind other expendable troops, allocating wounds onto them instead. However, with 6th edition, this tactic is mostly rendered moot as now ICs and characters can issue challenges, so the Power Fister will most likely fall in battle should the opponent strike and kill him first or see that both get killed off. New wound allocation rules also make the Fister more likely to have a wound allocated to him, but that is slightly mitigated by the Look Out Sir! rule. Dreadnoughts have no such penalty to initiative or benefit of LOS! as they are walking death machines crewed by a crippled vet, yet are strangely not characters.
In 7th edition, challenges can only be issued to models in combat (in attacking distance), and both sides get 3" pile in at their initiative step. Thusly, if you plan carefully you can have the powerfister 6" away from the combat, have the enemy close in and unable to challenge, and then pile in onto combat at initiative step 1.
There has been some speculation on how successful it would be to incorporate Power Fists into truly epic highfives and brofists, but the AdMech has made it perfectly clear that to do so would be tech-heresy.
For a combi-weapon version of the Power fist, see Chainfists.
Lightning Claws are a quartet of razor-sharp claws affixed to a gauntlet, each blade of which is a small power weapon. The claws had different designs pre- and post-Heresy, but they mostly function the same.
The pre-heresy design of the Lightning claws is that instead of blades being placed on the dorsal palm, the fingers on the glove are turned into power blades, giving the user a rather terrifying look. This is the wide-spread model that Chaos marines use since it's what they had on hand (literally) when they fell back to the Eye of Terror.
The current design of Lightning claws are 3-4 smaller power blades that are placed above the weapon's dorsal palm plating, akin to X-men's Wolverine. This design, although considered totally uncool when compared to the old Power Talons, gives the user the advantage of still having articulated fingers, albeit with digits that are still power fist sized, though some bad ass imperial guard commanders have been seen with lighting claws for no fluff explained reason. Possible just an oversight that got grandfathered into the later games but it still looks awesome so we're let it slide. Though two of those guys are from the same regiment (Cadian 412th) so maybe it's just a quirky tradition of that one regiment.
And then there are some gems like Lugft Huron's which have both dorsal and finger claws.
They are normally used in pairs. Favored by Terminators and Chaos Raptors, Lightning Claws are a bit unwieldy, but are much more likely to land a damaging hit on a target when used by a trained user (in tabletop, this translates to re-rolling failed to-wound rolls). They are also AP3, so it is now pointless to use them against Terminators, but they will mince up MEQs and blobs. The Raven Guard in particular often employ Lightning Claws. Always remember to say "snikt" when using them and to take them off before attempting to masturbate or pick your nose. Or don't.
A weapon used almost exclusively by the White Scars, Power Lances are energy-sheathed lances which the White Scars use in charging their opponents on their bikes. You can imagine the results.
Tabletop-wise, Power Lances are AP3 +1S on the charge but become AP4 and default strength in following assault phases. Since few box sets come with Power Lance bits, a lot of converting is to be done if you want to kit out your models with Power Lances. They're pretty awful in the hands of anything without Hit And Run. Honestly, they're pretty awful even in the hands of anything with Hit and Run. If you want the +1S, use a power axe. If you want AP3, use a power sword. If you want high strength and don't care about the AP, use a power maul. The only round Power Lances are better than the others is the charging round, so only take them if you think you can win a fight in the first round. If not then stick to the other choices.
A large power weapon in the shape of a glaive. Though a functional weapon, Power Halberds are largely ceremonial weapons used by Space Marine Honour Guards when on sentry duty, although the White Scars will use them in combat. The Custodes also used power halberds with attached bolters, but those weapons are to regular power halberds what Custodes are to regular marines. Not wanting to get left behind, CM Asterion Moloc "acquired" one of those and slapped a freaking lascannon onto it. Doesn't have an actual model because GW is lazy.
Big war hammers (40k) that smash anything they touch, and popularly paired with Storm Shields. Unlike other power weapons, Thunder Hammers only activate their energy fields upon contact with a target. This works like a flash capacitor, and utterly explodes whatever Thunder Hammers hit - in editions long past this meant they always scored a wound whenever they hit, no roll was needed. Comes in one-handed and two-handed varieties, but both functionally are the same weapon stat-wise. Particularly common among Terminators, although the Salamanders love it (going with Vulkan's training as a blacksmith and the artificer themes of the Promethean Creed). Gameplay wise, they're basically the same as Powerfists, except when attacking vehicles they will at a minimum get a "Crew Shaken" if they glance or penetrate, in addition to whatever else they roll on vehicle destruction. From 6th ed onwards, the special effect was changed to the "Concussive" rule; any target that takes a wound (but survives) is reduced to Initiative 1 till the end of the next assault phase, simulating disorientation from the explosive impact, making it very effective even against big gribblies that are tough enough to avoid Instant Death. Fun fact: Captains could not use thunder hammers without wearing terminator until Dawn of War proved how awesome it looked.
Heavy Thunder Hammer
These monstrosities are used by the Deathwatch for when a regular thunder hammer won't do the job. Being two-handed, you sacrifice the ability to wield a shield for the chance to one-shot most high-value targets.
It's a big thunder hammer that is consecrated with inscriptions, sacred oils, and unguents to allow it to defeat Daemons. In the old Daemonhunters army book, it struck daemons without the initiative penalty a thunder hammer usually had, but as of the Grey Knights codex, it was changed into a Nemesis Force Weapon.
These weapons are used exclusively by Deathwatch Sergeants and Captains, as their mere use is borderline heretical due to their xenos (likely Necron) origins. Xenophase blades are basically power swords that force a reroll on invuln saves, as they have the ability to teleport past armor. Needless to say, that makes them extremely invaluable weapons.
Eldar Power Weapons
The Eldar have the knowledge to create power weapons as well: theirs are of a lighter, more elegant design, and are used almost exclusively by the Howling Banshee aspect warriors.
A Power Sword with a twist used by an Exarch of the Dire Avengers. In addition to being a power weapon, a Diresword is also a spirit stone, housing a great Exarch of the past. When connecting with the target, the Eldar soul within will attempt to destroy the opponent's mind.
Eldar Power Sword
Used by the Howling Banshees, these weapons are of a more elegant design than their Imperial counterparts: they have a single edge and have a curve at the tip of the blade. Though being lighter, these weapons have more metal at the tip, allowing them to strike just as hard as an Imperial power weapon.
Somewhat smaller than, but otherwise identical to the regular power swords, these blades are used in pairs by the Exarchs of the Howling Banshees. The style that they are used in allows the wielder to deliver a far higher amount of blows on a target than with regular power swords.
A glaive, this power weapon greatly enhances the power behind the user's blows, allowing the warrior to slice its enemies in half with ease. Exarchs of the Dire Avengers aspect use a similar, but lighter weapon for superior range over their enemies.
Attached to the user's forearms, these weapons grant the wielder the advantages of a power weapon while allowing the user to keep his hands free. Used mainly by Exarchs of the Warp Spiders aspect.
Scorpion's Claw is an Eldar version of a power fist, except it doesn't slow its wielder (in game terms it doesn't have the Unwieldy or Special Weapon rules). Exarchs of the Striking Scorpions wear this on one hand while holding a chainsword in the other. It's a big claw with a shuriken pistol inside.
|Weapons of the Eldar|
|Sidearms:||Shuriken Pistol - Fusion Pistol|
|Basic Weapons:|| Shuriken Catapult - Avenger Shuriken Catapult - Ranger Long Rifle - Reaper Launcher |
Eldar Flamer - Fusion Gun - Lasblaster - Death Spinner - Laser Lance - Prism Rifle
|Exarch Weapons:|| Fire Pike - Dragon's Breath Flamer - Tempest Launcher - Star Lance |
Hawk's Talon - Sunrifle - Spinneret Rifle - Prism Blaster
|Warp Weapons:||D-Scythe - Wraithcannon - D-Cannon|
|Heavy Weapons:|| Shuriken Cannon - Scatter Laser - Eldar Missile Launcher - Bright Lance |
Shadow Weaver - Starcannon - Suncannon - Vibro Cannon
|Vehicle Weapons:||Pulse Laser - Prism Cannon - Doomweaver - Phoenix Missile Launcher|
|Super Heavy Weapons:||Pulsar - Psychic Lance - Sonic Lance - Revenant Missile Launcher|
|Melee Weapons:|| Diresword - Eldar Power Sword - Executioner - Ghostglaive - Mirrorsword |
Scorpion Chainsword - Scorpion's Claw - Singing Spear - Witchblade
Dark Eldar Power Weapons
While many of the Dark Eldar's weapons have only cosmetic differences to those of Eldar design, there are a few that are more unique
These massive two-handed swords are the staple weapon of the Incubus and are regarded by them as "The ultimate weapon". These enormous cleavers are AP2 and +1S while letting you strike at full I. Some squad leaders get the even deadlier Demi-Klaives. They grant an additional S normally, but you can choose to use them as +0S and +2A.
Only available to the most elite of nobles, a Djin blade houses the soul of a fallen Eldar. This grants AP3 and +2A, but on a roll of doubles on the extra attacks the soul rebels and the attacks target the user.
A weapon befitting its name, this deadly whip drives the senses of the victim haywire with pain. It grants AP3 and wounds the enemies on a 4+, regardless of toughness.
Carved from Desiccator bone, this horrid saber drains the moisture out of its victims in a fraction of a second, leaving nothing behind but a shriveled corpse. It grants AP3 and Instant Death. Now known as the Suckblade.
|Weapons of the Dark Eldar|
|Sidearms:||Blast Pistol - Fusion Pistol - Splinter Pistol - Stinger Pistol|
|Basic Weapons:||Splinter Rifle|
|Special Weapons:||Baleblast - Bloodstone - Eyeburst - Hexrifle - Liquifier Gun - Splinter Pods|
|Heavy Weapons:|| Blaster - Dark Lance - Haywire Blaster - Heat Lance |
Shardcarbine - Shredder - Splinter Cannon
|Vehicle Weapons:|| Disintegrator Cannon - Implosion Missile - Monoscythe Missile - Necrotoxin Missile |
Shatterfield Missile - Spirit Syphon - Spirit Vortex - Stinger Pod
|Melee Weapons||Dark Eldar Combat Weapons - Power Weapons|
Tau Power Weapons
Basically a Tau powerfist equivalent, but can only be used by Crisis-type battlesuits. Often jokingly called "donkey punch" by a players, and sometimes modeled on a suit's legs instead of hands, since "onager" is Latin for donkey (although it was also the name of a Roman catapult).
It was designed to battle Imperial tanks after the Tau realized that those crazy Gue'la can send in so many MEHTUL BAWKSES in a single engagement that Crisis teams would exhaust their ammunition supplies and the Guard would still have tanks rolling everywhere. Despite being very successfully tested during the Damocles Crusade, where a 12-man team of Crisis suits managed to falcon punch dozens of Imperial tanks into scrap, it is still undergoing field tests and is treated as an experimental system, due to the fact that the casualty rate of trying to give tanks a proper fisting in the middle of a war was too damn high.
Of the original 12 suits who tested the weapon; only Commander Bravestorm of Farsight's battlesuit retinue survived....kind of. Although Bravestorm lived, his body was too badly wounded after his Crisis suit was critically damaged at one point that he had to be permanently entombed into his Crisis suit just to survive.